Iran General NewsIran tops Blair and Merkel agenda

Iran tops Blair and Merkel agenda

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BBC: UK Prime Minister Tony Blair is meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, with Iran, the Middle East and European issues all on the agenda. BBC

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair is meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, with Iran, the Middle East and European issues all on the agenda.

The pair held informal talks after Mr Blair’s arrival on Thursday, ahead of Friday’s meeting and press conference.

They are expected to re-emphasise their resolve on dealing with Iran after France accused the Iranians of a secret plan to develop nuclear weapons.

The pair have built up good relations since Mrs Merkel took office last year.

The chancellor said this week that Iran, which insists its nuclear programme is solely for peaceful purposes, must realise it was isolating itself internationally with its behaviour.

That has been seen as a hint that part of the talks with Mr Blair will be about how to keep Russia and China close to the European and American positions.

Anglo-German relationship

The two leaders are also expected to discuss responses to the victory of Hamas in the Palestinian elections, and European issues.

The fate of the services directive, aimed at opening service industries to competition across the EU, is expected to be a key issue.

The European Parliament has approved a watered-down version of the directive but national governments must still approve the final set of proposals.

The new, closer Anglo-German relationship, which has been developing since Mrs Merkel took office in November, will be watched closely in Paris.

French President Jacques Chirac is unlikely to welcome anything to threaten his country’s traditional alliance with Germany.

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